Anthony Donskov

Anthony Donskov is the founder of DSC where he serves as the Director of Sport Performance. Donskov holds a Masters Degree in Exercise Science & is the author of Physical Preparation for Ice Hockey.

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Anthony Donskov

Anthony Donskov

Anthony Donskov is the founder of DSC where he serves as the Director of Sport Performance.  Donskov holds a Masters Degree in Exercise Science & is the author of Physical Preparation for Ice Hockey.  

Posted by on in Coaching Development

I recently received a text message from my older brother (a current assistant coach in the Ontario Hockey League), outlining his philosophy on leaving a legacy behind. One powerful line stood out and made me think of what it means to aspire in reaching the ultimate goal of one’s inner potential: He said “I try and get one day better everyday!” One day better everyday, a small yet achievable goal centered on work ethic, pride, attention to detail, sacrifice, perseverance, initiative, self-control, confidence and competitive greatness.

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Posted by on in Rehabilitation

Hockey is a high impact, high intensity, physically demanding sport. At the highest level of play, the game moves at amazing speeds. Scott Niedermayer won the 1998 “fastest skater” in the NHL Skills competition by circling the rink in 13.56 seconds, which translates to about 28 mph. Can you imagine absorbing the impact of a car traveling at this speed, yet alone two cars colliding at similar speeds? Welcome to the great sport of hockey!

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Experience is a valuable teacher, arguably the single most important step in the learning process. Learning from past success and failure allows us to build efficient, effective training methods, exercise components, philosophies, coaching cues, professional, hands-on knowledge, and most importantly saves time. “Time is of essence, and the essence of success is time.” (John Wooden) There are many avoidable mistakes young coaches make to form their experiences: from the muscle head coach who creates his workout regime from a Bodybuilding Magazine, to the Coach who tries to fit square pegs in round holes and hurts his clients or himself, to the Coach that thinks a former sporting career qualifies him as a competent, effective strength and conditioning professional. The question we all need to ask ourselves is: “Can we expedite the learning process?” “Can we learn from wise coaches with years of experience making mistakes so that we may avoid them?” The answer to this question is YES! I call this Fast Forward Learning.

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Posted by on in Coaching Development

During my days as a youth, I was never a big fan of visiting the doctors’ office. Just the sight of a white coat made my heart race faster than a pace car at the Indianapolis 500. Maybe it was the fear of getting a shot, or the doctor asking me to turn and cough, either way you cut it, I had white coat syndrome! Fast forward to the present and my profession as a Strength and Conditioning Coach. The best coaches in the business use evidence based practice, meshing research with practical application to form safe, and effective protocol for their respective populations. Research however is a touchy subject. What journals are considered “credible”? How old is the study? What population was used to prove/disprove a theory? Does the study classify a “group” and not individualize certain characteristics (i.e. weight, height, age, lifestyle, sport career, previous injury, level of exercise, ect)? The list goes on and on! Research/Evidence is very important, and with all if this information at hand, many Coaches can get white coat syndrome (overwhelmed and hesitant to proceed).

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Who cut the cheese in the weight room? No, I ‘m not referring to the passing of gas; I’m referring to the QUALITY of movement and exercise selection. Too many times we as coaches sacrifice quality for quantity, quality for load, and quality for inflated ego. Any time your clients/athletes engage in training, the smell test must be passed! To pass the smell test: three questions MUST be answered with a YES. If not, your weight room will smell worse than yesterday’s left over’s.

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Hockey is an extremely demanding sport! A quality strength and conditioning program needs to reflect these demands. Components such as: soft tissue work, static stretching, mobility, dynamic flexibility, upper/lower body plyometrics, speed development, strength training and energy system capacity are all vital for performance gains.   When designing programs we often overlook one of the most fundamental questions, what are the demands of the sport? Does my program reflect these qualities?

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There is currently a major buzz going on in the strength and conditioning field centering on the concept of thoracic spine mobility. Coaches are actively seeking ways to build mobility in this anatomic region in order to reduce lumbar rotation and enhance scapular stability. The idea revolves around the concept of Kinetic Linkage where each joint is affected by the integrity of the joint above or below. The T-Spine is extremely important. A proximal to distal linkage of the thoracic spine, scapula and GH joint is critical in long-term shoulder health (as is ankle and hip mobility). The thoracic spine needs to be mobile to allow adequate translation of the scapula over its surface. This enhances the GH joint and prevents anterior/superior humeral head migration, which leads to impingement. Take a look at the picture below.

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As a former competitive athlete, I enjoyed being pushed in the weight room and on the ice. Intense workouts, overnight bus rides, three games in three nights and a body the recovered faster than David Hasselhoff’s lifeguarding career.

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Many Strength and Conditioning Coaches have high aspirations of one day opening their own facilities. The thought of a nice building, fancy equipment, and a loyal client base are all elements of the entrepreneurial spirit. However, before the doors swing open, your celebrity clientele arrive, and your first months rent payment is due, there are several things you need to consider. Below are five steps that I acted on and understood before the doors at Donskov Strength and Conditioning were ever opened. I hope these intangible elements can help you in your quest to one day open the doors of your own facility.

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Building a strong “posterior dominant” shoulder has been shown to be of great value for the overhead athlete. Based on the demands of the sport (the fact that many great overhead athletes have acquired laxity) and the construct of the joint (the shoulder joint in and of itself sacrifices large amounts of stability for mobility) this anatomical landmark plays an important role in the athletes’ protocol. However many times direct cuff strengthening is overlooked in the practical programming for the contact athlete. Is this valid or do we need to look deeper into preparing our athletes for the demands of their sport? Lets take a look at the evidence regarding shoulder injuries in contact sports.

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